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Hiring a Professional Painter: An Insider's Advice

Updated: Aug 2, 2022

Interior Painting

So you've decided to get your house repainted. That's awesome! A great repainting job can energize and beautify your home like you wouldn't believe. However, not all paint jobs are created equal. The quality of your paint job ultimately comes down to the quality of the painters that you contract with. Some contractors are always going to be better choices than others. Sometimes, it's hard to tell the difference between a good contractor and a bad contractor. This can make hiring painters feel like a gamble. Am I going to get my money's worth or not? You don't want to find out the answer to that question after you've already paid. Here at SF House Painting, we believe that the quality of a contractor is determined by how well they handle a few important factors: pricing, planning, preparation, and communication. Today, we want to share with you our insider's advice on how to evaluate potential contractors that you might work with.

Pricing is the obvious place to start. A fair contractor offers a fair price. One thing to look for is a contractor who will give you a personalized estimate, not a flat rate. Flat rates are inherently suspect because houses can differ so much. Each house has different numbers of stories, rooms, and total area, so pricing out a paint job requires real in-person attention from a contractor. Despite this, it's good to go into negotiations with a rough idea of what you should pay. Prices vary from region to region, so a good rule of thumb is that repainting the first 1,000 square feet should cost you about $5,000, the next should cost you about $4,000, and so on. For example, this would mean that a two-story 2200 square foot house would cost about $9,600 to repaint, and a three-story 3500 square foot house would cost about $13,000. These examples refer to whole-house repainting jobs, covering interior and exterior. About 35-40% of the cost of a job goes to the exterior, 60-65% to the interior, so keep that in mind as well if you're only having part of your house repainted. Finally, remember once again that these are just rules of thumb. The most important thing is still that the contractor gives you a a commitment-free personalized estimate, before asking you to hand over any money.

While the contractor is working on your estimate, they're going to be inspecting your house. Ideally, they'll be building a detailed plan of how they're going to repaint your place. Before you accept their estimate, ask them about their plan! Pay attention to whether they're familiar with the details of how each step is going to be executed. If they seem fuzzy on these details, it's probably because they aren't communicating frequently enough with their painting team. This is a problem because a team that doesn't communicate enough is a slow team. Teams like this will often end up costing you extra because they have to take an additional day or two to complete a project. You can be a savvy consumer and avoid these issues by hiring a contractor who lays out their plan of action clearly and keeps you updated on the details.

An important part of any painting contractor's plan is their prep work. Less often mentioned than things like paint quality or protective layering, prep work can also play a vital role in determining the longevity of a painting project. Often, peeling or cracking paint can actually be a symptom of underlying damage to a home's frame. In these cases, rotting wood, damaged stucco, and the other underlying issues need to be fixed first, or your new paint job won't last very long. If you feel like underlying issues were the reason behind your decision to repaint your house, make sure to discuss this with your contractor. Their plan should include the necessary carpentry and repair work to ensure that your paint job will last at least 10 years.

Finally, and perhaps above all, a good contractor communicates. Often. Your home is your palace, and the contractor should respect that. You should always be fully informed about any decisions regarding changes to your house, big or small. At SF House Painting, we have a live-chat option on our web site, and our local branch manager is on call 12 hours a day during the week. We do everything we can to maximize communication between us and our clients, and we're not alone. Top painting contractors always understand the value of good communication. When you're making that final decision about who to trust to repaint your house, go with your gut, and go with the contractor who communicates the most.

Thanks for reading, and happy hunting!

- The SF House Painting Crew

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